1½ day event in Cambridge (UK), 20-21 November 2008

A final draft program is below. All events will be held at Microsoft Research in the Small Lecture theatre in the Roger Needham Building, unless stated otherwise.

DAY ONE (Thursday 20th November)


REGISTRATION: outside Small Lecture Theatre



Professor Richard Harper, Principal Researcher, Socio-Digital Systems, Microsoft Research Cambridge


Dr Jonathan Grudin, Principal Researcher, Adaptive Systems and Interaction Group, Microsoft Research

Opening Salvos on the War on the Mundane [abstract]


LUNCH: outside Small Lecture Theatre



Mobile Mundane Interactions (Chair: Dr Eric Laurier, Institute of Geography, Edinburgh University)

Mobile Social Gaming. Paul Coulton, Klen Copic Pucihar and Will Bamford (InfoLab21, Lancaster University)

Mundane Pleasures in Everyday Life. Marije Kanis (Brunel University), Antti Salovaara (Helsinki Institute for Information Technology) and Willem-Paul Brinkman (Delft University of Technology)





Studies of Mundane Artefacts (Chair: Dr Dave Randall, Sociology Department, Manchester Metropolitan University)

The fine art of surfacing: practices of use at the tabletop. Antti Salovaara (Helsinki Institute for Information Technology), Roshanak Zarabi (Brunel University), and Mark Perry (Brunel University).

Creating Affinities between paper and digital resources. Karola Pitsch (University of Bielefeld), Paul Luff and Christian Heath (Kings College London), Peter Herdman (ArjoWiggins SAS) and Julian Wood (Brunel University)

Mundane Intelligence in Interaction Design: A Study of Widely used Adaptive User Interfaces. Per August Krämer (Octaga AS) and Steinar Kristoffersen (Østfold University College)


COFFEE: outside Small Lecture Theatre



Reflections on the Mundane (Chair: Dr Keith Cheverst, Computing Department, Lancaster University)

Reflective Agile Iterative Design. Clint Heyer (ABB Strategic R&D for Oil, Gas and Petrochemicals) and Margot Brereton (Queensland University of Technology)

Embracing the Everyday: Reflections on Using Video and Photography in Health Research. Vincent O'Brien (University of Cumbria), Kenesh Djusipov (Kyrgyz State Medical Academy) and Nazgul Esengulova (Ak Terek Public Fund)

Photo Practices and Family Values in Chinese Households. Connor Graham and Mark Rouncfield (Lancaster University)

From Exotic to Mundane: Longitudinal Reflections on Parenting and Technology in the Connected Family Home. Hilary Davis, Martin Gibbs, Michael Arnold and Bjorn Nansen (University of Melbourne)





Professor William Gaver, Interaction Research Studio, Goldsmiths College, University College, London

Making the Mundane Extraordinary, Making the Extraordinary Mundane [abstract]



The Graham Storey Room, Trinity Hall, Cambridge [map 1]

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DAY TWO (Friday 21st November)


REGISTRATION: outside Lecture Theatre



In this session, presenters will briefly describe their posters.

Digital Upheavals: Ethnographic Studies on Digital-DIY Activity. Philip Ely (University for the Creative Arts and University of Surrey), David Frohlich (Digital World Research Centre, University of Surrey), and Nicola Green (University of Surrey)

Supporting Village Community Through Connected Situated Displays. Nick Taylor and Keith Cheverst (Lancaster University)

Moblogging as method: exploring the role of the mobile phone in accessing personal action and experience.. Tim Jay (Bristol University)


COFFEE: outside Lecture Theatre



Death and Immortality (Chair: Dr Martin Gibbs, Department of Information Systems, University of Melbourne)

Applying Reflective Design to Digital Memorials. Pin Sym Foong and Denisa Kera (National University of Singapore)

Communicating Commemoration. Elise van den Hoven, Wina Smeenk, Hans Bilsen, Rob Zimmermann, Simone de Waart and Koen van Turnhout (Eindhoven University of Technology)

On the Design of Technology Heirlooms. David Kirk and Richard Banks (Microsoft Research, Cambridge)





Dr Abigail Sellen, Principal Researcher, Socio-Digital Systems, Microsoft Research Cambridge

Mundane Objects, Memory and the Home [abstract]



At this point will summarise the outcomes of the workshop, discuss next steps, including planned publications.

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Keynote descriptions

Dr Jonathan Grudin

Opening Salvos of a War on the Mundane

As far back as we can find evidence, our species has been intrigued bythe contrast of, on the one hand, the ways we think people behave, the ways we think they should behave, the laws, rules, regulations, policies, conventions, and norms that prescribe behavior, with, on the other hand, the way people actually do behave. Communication technologies beginning with writing have exposed both the discrepancies and inconsistent enforcement of violations. Although social scientists have identified reasons to have laws, policies, norms, and so on whether or not they are uniformly followed, the obvious issues that arise following exposure have been tremendously amplified by digital technologies that increase the visibility of, and permanently record, actual behavior. An uneasy peace has existed, with occasional flare-ups, but war may be approaching. Just as technologies reach ever more deeply into facets of work and recreation, new capabilities are emerging that enable people who may not understand why others work or live as they do to enforce adherence to behavioral prescriptions. The consequences of pushing these powerful buttons will be chaotic, and eventually solutions will have to be negotiated, but in many cases I can't see graceful solutions and the compromises may lead to less joyful practices than you and I would prefer. In the talk I will outline the issues and illustrate them by describing efforts to introduce one such new, powerful technology in two large enterprises. The outcomes were 180 degrees apart, due entirely-or at least in large part-to willingness in one case to collect and consider qualitative data describing mundane experience.

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Professor William Gaver

Making the Mundane Extraordinary, Making the Extraordinary Mundane

Domestic technologies can support the chores, social coordination, consumerism and entertainment that make up our daily rounds. But they can also fit into the cracks between these normal modes of being, pry them open, and expand the possibilities for extraordinary experiences of the mundane. We have built a number of prototypes intended to achieve this, prototypes which embody tactics ranging from presenting new views on what already surrounds us to making local events serve as levers that find new content. Surprisingly enough, when such devices succeed in capturing peoples’ interest over time, they become mundane themselves. That is, they find a place in peoples’ homes, and their home lives, that allows them to coexist with other devices, activities and interests. In this talk I present a number of systems that work in this way – and one that didn’t – and suggest ways to think of this cycle between the extraordinary and mundane.

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Dr Abigail Sellen

Mundane Objects, Memory and the Home

The lifelogging movement within HCI aims to capture more complete digital records of life’s events so that we can all have a set of “digital memories”. At the same time, others within the field are turning their attention to how mundane objects in the home can also be mementos, triggering personal and shared memories of important events, special people and so on. In this talk, I’ll examine our preoccupation with memory and recollection of the past within HCI, and with building technologies to support this sort of memory. I’ll offer as a counterpoint some of our recent research on home archiving which shows that the collection of ordinary objects is about much more than collecting mementos, and plays to a much more diverse set of human values than this view would suppose. In turn, building new technologies that support, augment, or enrich these varied practices is both more challenging and more interesting than designing for memory alone. Some recent concepts developed in our group illustrate where these ideas might take us, what the pitfalls might be, and where there might be room for new technologies to engage us.

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